Chapter 16

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Environmental Science
Carl Mitchell

EESA01 Chapter 16 Conventional Energy AlternativesAlternatives to fossil fuels y Nonrenewable energy sources like oil coal and natural gas will not last forever Hydropower nuclear power and biomass energy are conventional alternatives y We can call these hydropower nuclear power and biomass energy conventional alternatives to fossil fuels y They exert less env impact y Nuclear energy is non renewable while hydropower and biomass are renewable Hydroelectic Power y In hydroelectric power or hydropower we use kinetic energy of moving water to turn turbines and generate electricityModern hydropower uses 2 approaches y We harness waters kinetic energy in 2 major ways o With storage impoundments and o Using runoff river approaches y Most of our hydroelectric power comes from impounding water in reservoirs behind concrete dams that block the flow of river water and then letting that water pass through the dam y Because immense amounts of water are stored behind dams this is called storage technique y As reservoir water passes through a dam it turns the blades of turbines which cause a great generator to generate electricity y An alternative to large dams is run of river approach which generates electricity without greatly disrupting the flow of river water y This approach can use many methods one of which is to divert a portion of a rivers flow through a pipe or channel passing it through a powerhouse and then returning it to the river y Run of river are useful in areas remote from established electrical grids and in regions without economic resources to build and maintain large dams Hydropower is clean and renewable y For producing electricity hydropower has 2 advantages over fossil fuels o First it is renewable as long as preip falls and fills rivers and reservoirs we can use water to turn turbines o The second advantage is its cleanliness No carbon compounds are burned in the production of hydropower so no CO2 and other pollutants are emitted into the atmosphere which helps safeguard air quality climate and human health y Hydropower accounts for only a small fraction of greenhouse gas emissions typical of fossil fuel combustion
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